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Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

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Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby thebrittanator » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:35 pm

My computer is admittedly not as powerful as it should be to handle orchestral libraries, it's a 2015 MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM and EastWest's samples are pretty big, but it's extremely frustrating to not even be able to work with a two digit number of instruments before it starts giving me synchronization error messages.

It helps me to pick the lightest patches possible (no legato anymore), close out of all other programs, turn off the wifi, restart Logic and/or the computer once in a while, freeze every track I'm not using, and increase buffer size as much as I can, but the project I'm working on right now only has about eight instruments so far and it's already too big. I'm starting to just work on sections of instruments in different Logic files, bounce them, combine the audio, and then hope I don't want to make too many changes later in the process.

Is this normal? Should I see if there's something wrong with my computer? I don't understand how Logic Pro could be an industry standard if a pretty normal level of computer that supports it is so completely useless when I want both legato and pizzicato strings unless there's some sort of user error or extenuating circumstance. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby desmond » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:46 pm

I have a less powerful computer than you (2011 MBP), but you should be able to run way more sample-based instruments than that if we are talking about CPU power alone.

*However*, 8GB of ram is an absolute minimum, but you probably won't get much done in that, depending on your projects. As I've gone into here before, with 8GB of ram, and running a large application like Logic, you're already potentially hitting swap space (meaning you have little free working ram to load samples into etc), so your computer is having to do all kinds of gymnastics to keep up.

You need to assess the resources you are using - open your CPU and disk meters to see whether you are using high levels of CPU or disk throughput. Check out how much RAM you are using in Activity Monitor. If you can upgrade the RAM in your machine, I'd recommend going to 16GB (which is what I run), which should give you a smoother time (*if* if's the RAM that's causing your problems). Check out your sampler's disk streaming options, you may be able to tweak settings there to optimise disk streaming etc.

Also check out your audio buffer sizes and increase them if necessary if they are very low.
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby thebrittanator » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:10 pm

Thank you! Upgrading my RAM might be the way I go
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but where would I go to look for my sampler's disk streaming options? Is that in Logic?
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby desmond » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:35 pm

Your sampler, which is presumably EastWest’s Play (which I don’t use, so can’t advise on...)
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby MOF » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:26 am

Check that samplers and virtual instruments aren’t set to a large number of guaranteed voices, if they have a quality setting use the lowest setting until mix down.
Use the freeze function once you’re happy with a virtual instrument track, set the buffer size to 1024 samples and turn off software monitoring. Plus what others have said.
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby forumuser919270 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:34 am

Play is the problem, not Logic. I've been using EW Play for both choral and orchestral work for more than 10 years, and I'd say you've been lucky to get 5 instruments to work with that processor and RAM. I've upgraded twice, first to 32GB of Ram on a 27" iMac with an i7 processor, and now to an iMac Pro (12 core Xeon W) with 64GB, and using every trick in the book, I can just get a full orchestra to run smoothly without hiccups.

My advice (In this order)

1. Be sure to compose "Dry." Every instance (individual track or instrument) of reverb, compression or other FX steals both memory and processor (this includes the Reverb in Play). After you finish a piece convert individual tracks or section to audio tracks, and then apply Logic's convolution reverb by track or section.

2. Get the sample libraries off your main hard drive. I use a dedicated USB C (or 3.0) external RAID called a "Glyph Atom RAID," in a 1TB SSD size (about $250). Atom is widely used in media circles and has a solid reputation for speed and reliability. This model will only work if your computer has USB 3.0 or USB C. If you only have USB 2.0 and an older version of Thunderbolt, choose the cheapest Thunderbolt drive you can find. External USB 2.0 drives are far too slow for Play's samples. The reason for the separate drive is simple: Logic and Play are both memory hungry and make frequent calls on your internal drive. Some of the latency issue you're experiencing is because the drive is being hit by both programs (Play as a VST is simply a program that operates within the framework of your DAW, Logic) and their request for samples, all at the same time.

3. Max out your RAM, or...

4. Invest in a dedicated orchestrating Mac and an external sample drive. Even with a brand new i7 or i9 iMac and 64 GB of RAM, you still need a fast dedicated external drive for samples.

5. Understand that EW and Play are, in terms of orchestral samples, getting to be pretty long in the tooth. If you like to think or write in notation, Presonus' Notion is a sterling program, much better at notation than Logic - on a par with Finale or Sibelius, but more intuitive, and much more about composing instead of musical typesetting. Notion comes with orchestral instruments that are being developed year by year and getting better over time. But, if you want to stick with Logic, two others to check out are :

Orchestral Tools -- their samples run on a new interface called Sine. It has a few bugs, but is coming along very well. I use it for string trio and quartet work.

Spitfire -- their sample libraries aren't cheap, but they work very, very well, all the time, both their orchestral samples and their free Labs series.

I use products from both these companies and can only say that both are hands down easier to use and more realistic that East West. When I bought into the EW eco-system, they were second in quality only to the Vienna Libraries, but shared with Vienna a need for computer speed and hunger for memory. They score far down the list these days and are still very tough on memory, something I realised was not getting better as the years went by.
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:26 pm

MOF wrote:Check that samplers and virtual instruments aren’t set to a large number of guaranteed voices

This is a very important point, and reducing the maximum number of voices can even result in more clarity in your mixes, as older/low-level notes get removed by louder new ones.

I've used this technique to increase the clarity in a few of my mixes over the years where massive polyphony has resulted in mix overload (for example with piano or choir sounds) - just reduce the maximum voice number until you can hear notes being robbed, and then edge it back up slightly for maximum benefit :thumbup:

And of course if you're playing sampled guitar sounds on a keyboard, restrict the sampler's polyphony to six notes for more realism ;)


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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby desmond » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:31 pm

And also - "Play" has never had a particularly great reputation since it was introduced...
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby thebrittanator » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:16 pm

Thank you guys, this is a million times more helpful than the customer support avenues I tried first, haha

I got a new desktop computer with 32GB of RAM a while ago so I could start using that instead, so when I'm at home I can use that with Cubase and Spitfire's solo strings library and it's so much easier. I spend a lot of time away from home though (plus I've had some more technical issues transferring my orchestral library to the new computer), so I'll keep working on reducing the workload Play has for now.
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby desmond » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:35 pm

Certainly try to get a feel for the resources you are using using the meters in Logic and Activity Monitor - that will help you decide whether things like additional RAM will make a meaningful difference or not.
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Re: Logic can only handle about 5 instruments

Postby degraye » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:45 am

Arriving here from a different place on the net, I think the title is rather misleading.

Maybe change it to something like "Eastwests Play can only handle about 5 instruments" ?

Hope you get this sorted :)
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